America's most powerful Black executives: B.E. selects 40 all-stars from the nation' corporate elite.
Heavy hitters for the nation's largest corporations, these individuals control revenues and budget dollars in the billions. How, they move these funds not only shapes our daily spending habits, but the bottom lines of their companies.
BLACK ENTERPRISE has spent the past five months tracking the high-flying executives profiled in this report. But our search for top talent, in fact has been ongoing since 1988, when we first presented the "25 Hottest Black Managers in Corporate America." In that cover story, we named an elite cadre of managers poised for stardom. Two subsequent articles, "Return of the Top 25" in 1989 and "Power Surge" in 1992, gave updates on their hot-rod careers. Of the original 25, 16 reappear on this list.
Unlike our 1988 roundup, this group of business leaders includes women. Five years ago, black women comprised just 2% of all U.S. corporate managers (the figure is 2.2% today). But in August of 1991, our groundbreaking story "21 Women of Power and Influence in Corporate America" identified a dynamic troupe of women achievers. Four of them made the cut for our story.
The "Power 40" named in this issue were selected with the help of BE's vast network of executive recruiters, human resources specialists and professional organizations, such as the Washington, D.C.-based Executive Leadership Council. BE readers, too, over the years,have alerted us to some stellar managers. Armed with these and other leads, we requested nominations from the nation's biggest industrial and service companies, including those we recognized as the "25 Best Places for Blacks to Work," in February of last year. Our efforts yielded more than 100 impressive candidates. The BE Editorial Board made the final list selection.
So why 40? Back in 1988, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.9% of the nation's managers were African-American. Five years later, our ranks have not dramatically increased: In 1991, the last year for which these statistics were available, 5.1% of all managers were black. But while executives of color may lag in number, a significant handful have captured more clout. This brings the threshold of black talent to an all-time high. In fact of the 25 we featured in 1988, most have since seen promotions (others switched to privately held or foreign companies and, therefore, no longer qualified for the list).
As they scale new heights, we found, more blacks are getting a shot at profit and loss responsibility. Says Howard Bond, president of Executech Consultants Inc., an executive recruitment firm in Cincinnati: "Those who have proved to corporations that they can do an outstanding job have really provided an opportunity for others to follow in their footsteps."
Though the recession has forced a disproportionate number of black middle managers out the company door, highly ranked African-Americans appear to have suffered far less. According to Pittsford, Vt.-based Gilbert Tweed Associates, a leading international executive search firm, 35% of top-level corporate placements in 1992were either black or female, compared with a mere 5% in 1981. The salary range for these positions? A healthy $100,000 and more.
"This isn't a quick fix," insists J. Al Wakefield, a partner at Gilbert Tweed. "Companies are trying to make changes reflective of the market as a whole," which will be a nonwhite majority by 2000. In fact, most of the executive recruiters we consulted predict that BE will present an equally strong list of 100 "Most Powerful Executives" before 2000.
How We Selected Them
For consideration, candidates had to meet several requirements. They must work for publicly traded corporations in a senior capacity (all but one work for Fortune 1000 companies). In particular, we looked for those managers who have bottom-line impact. Of course, salary, too, was an issue. Each individual on our list earns a compensation package of no less than $250,000. (This includes base pay and short-term bonuses). The majority make salaries in the $300,000 to $400,000 range; the most highly paid individual brings home a whopping $1.8 million.
The cutoff for our 1988 "25 Hottest Black Managers" list was also $250,000. That sum, however, included pension plans and all stock options. According to Judith Fischer, publisher of Executive Compensation Reports in Alexandria, Va., the upward spiral in executive pay came to a halt at the end of the 1980s, and in 1993, more than half of all companies are expected to freeze wages across the board.
A Special Brand Of Talent
Racial obstacles aside, several of the people on our list have broken barriers of gender and age. Take Dorothy Terrell, president of Boston-based SunExpress, a division of Sun Microsystems. One of the few executives with a liberal arts background, she rose to become a plant manager at Digital Equipment before joining Sun Microsystems--a truly stunning career coup for any female executive. According to Catalyst, a New York City-based women's research and advisory group, only 9% of female managers ever crack that field.
Another anomaly is Richard Nanula. At the age of32, Nanula is a full 15 years younger than the average executive on our list--yet he is one of the biggest power brokers. The CFO of the $6 billion Walt Disney Co., Nanula is sixth in line behind chairman and CEO Michael Eisner. Within months on the job, he pulled off the largest convertible bond issue ever, a deal which helped finance Euro Disney.
In an age where senior managers are unceremoniously ousted, New York-based Teachers insurance and Annuity Association--College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) has refused to let its chairman go. CEO Clifton R. Wharton Jr. was set to retire at65, but he stayed on at the board's urging. Today, at 66, he is one of the oldest CEOs in corporate America.
Where They Sit
Among the executives, 12 are presidents of major divisions or subsidiaries. The two CEOs on our list? Richard Parsons of the Dime Savings Bank of New York and Wharton of TIAA-CREF. Parsons, a former lawyer, today heads the seventh-largest savings institution in the United States, with assets of $9 billion. Wharton is at the helm of the world's biggest pension fund, which has assets of $112 billion.
Currently, there is not a single black CEO among the nation's largest 500 industrial corporations. Our list, however, does contain a few hopefuls. Xerox veteran A. Barry Rand is a member of his company's power quintet and is an obvious contender for the top job. Others tantalizingly close to the CEO's seat include Robert Beavers of McDonald's and American Express' Kenneth Chenault.
Only three of these top-drawer executives occupy director chairs at major companies other than their own. Not surprisingly, the two CEOs--Parsons and Wharton--command the most clout outside their organizations. Parsons serves on the boards of two giant conglomerates: Time-Warner and Philip Morris; Wharton is a director at Ford and the New York Stock Exchange. Xerox's Rand also sits on the board at Honeywell.
What Else We Found
* Tech Wizards Reign: As this entire month's issue underscores, it's not just the job you've got that matters, but the industry you're in. And our executives, we found, are centered in some of the hottest fields. Blacks who got their start in technical industries, especially, have excelled. Whereas performance in areas such as sales and marketing may be subjective, technical proficiency can't be denied.
It's no surprise, then, that five of our executives have careers in the telephone industry; another six work for computer firms. Telephone companies in particular, points out Howard H. Bond, started aggressively recruiting blacks as early as the '70s, "because they have been under close government scrutiny" to do so.
* The Biggest and he Best. The largest corporation represented on the list is also the nation's biggest industrial firm: $124 billion General Motors. The company brass recently named Roy Roberts as vice president and general manager of GMC Truck, making him the first African-American to head a Big Three auto division. proved most popular? With three executives each named in our story, Xerox and IBM tie for the honor. Both companies boast management teams that are more than 12% black.
* Degrees Galore. More than half of the men and women on our list sport MBAs or similar advanced degrees. Stack that against the credentials of the nation's top 1,000 CEOs: Only 23% from that club ever picked up comparable letters. When questioned on this topic, most executives said they viewed the MBA not merely as a resume flourish, but as a means of withstanding tougher-than-usual job scrutiny. Monsanto's David Price, for instance, names the day he earned his Harvard MBA as the turning point of his career. "Until then, a lot of things I wanted to do were just dreams," he says.
The Ivy on our list is plentiful, too. Fourteen of the 40 received at least one degree from an Ivy League school. In addition, 10 were educated at historically black institutions.
* A World of Opportunities: Today's global economy demands a spate of world-savvy managers. And the majority of executives, we found, are gaining experience in markets abroad. Now more than ever, points out Derryl Reed, past president of the National Black MBA Association, "international experience is necessary" to ensure a nimble corporate climb. This especially holds true as lucrative markets in Africa and South America open up. Says Reed: "Who better to help make the connection with (these nations) than businesspeople of African descent?"
Carl Ware is definitely one. Truly a newsmaker, Ware was recently named president of The Coca-Cola Co.'s new Africa Group, where he is charged with putting sub-Saharan Africa's dynamic new markets on tap. Corning's Hayward Gipson, too, is a pro at fielding foreign opportunities. The highest-ranking black executive at the company, he's responsible for stacking Corning's consumer products on shelves in all markets outside the United States.
* Not Strictly Business: These are versatile players. Despite grueling schedules, most take time out for some notable diversions. Honeywell's Mannie Jackson, a former pro-basketball player himself, keeps his hook shot in shape these days coaching kids. Earl Washington of Rockwell International finds relaxation at the speedway--when he's not tooling around in his own high-speed cars. Though many would rather stay grounded than hop another flight, IBM's Gerald Prothro delights in taking to the skies, as a pilot. As for Xerox's Barry Rand? He goes for adventure. The six-foot-plus executive has been spotted in the wilds of Thailand, atop an elephant. Now that's riding high.
Richard S. Barton
Richard S. Barton is nobody's copycat. Back in 1990, he squeezed a profit from Xerox's ailing Systems Sales division. No other vice president had managed that. And when selected to head Xerox Canada Ltd. in 1991, he became the first black CEO of a major Canadian company. Pretty original.
Now, Barton, 43, is looking to set another example at Xerox Corp. As the once-lethargic, overly bureaucratic "copier company" reemerges as a streamlined producer of "documents systems," he is betting that Xerox Canada can take the lead.
"I was sent here to put together a model," says the president and CEO of Xerox's $1.1 billion Canadian subsidiary. "We are making the term |document solutions' come alive."
In many ways, the mission at Xerox Canada mirrors that of its parent company: to ween itself from the business of super-speed copiers and seeking the high-growth stakes of total office integration. Rather than pushing costly hardware, Barton is stressing "value-added" solutions for the office, linking existing equipment and systems together.
His emphasis is custom software packages which can send documents from workstation to printer to fax--anywhere in the world. Already, he's showed his stuff at the Ottawa Attorney General's office, where he installed a system that produced Canada's first paperless trial.
His tack seems to be working. In the first three quarters of 1992, the North York, Ontario-based company achieved double-digit growth in domestic equipment sales. Profits, too, were up--by an astounding 60% from the year before.
Barton has been tinkering with more than Xerox's product line. To boost sales in the copier market, he has deployed a new sales team, using outside representatives for the first time. He's also putting Xerox products in retail stores.
Arriving at Xerox straight out of Adelphi University, Barton made his name as an upstart salesman, spinning gold from the streets of the Bronx. Working the toughest of territories in 1971, he beat his sales targets by 10%. He moved on to become product manager and in 1987, executive assistant to Xerox's CEO, Paul Allaire.
And what did Barton learn at the chairman's side? "Patience," he says, adding, "If you're willing to accept change as an ally, you can make quite a journey."
Robert M. Beavers Jr.
On your next visit to McDonald's, take a good look behind the counter--that might be Robert M. Beavers Jr. scooping up fries or "dressing" the Big Macs. The senior vice president and zone manager at McDonald's Corp., you see, gets some of his juiciest tips while in the field. "In this business," explains Beavers, 49, "it's important to stay close to the action."
In 1963, when Beavers got his start as a $1-an-hour crew member, McDonald's hadn't yet served its billionth hamburger. Today, the count tops 80 billion, and Beavers is one of the key officers driving sales at the world's largest ($7 billion) restaurant chain. Based in Oak-brook, Ill., he oversees more than 1,400 stores in six western regions. Combined, they account for 16% of McDonald's U.S. revenues.
Elected to the board nine years ago, Beavers is part of the team that has angled the McDonald's menu to suit today's health-minded customer. Low-fat selections such as the McLean Deluxe, chunky chicken salads and bran muffins all look like keepers. Even a new veggie burger is being tried in markets abroad, though it isn't likely to be bagged in the United States. "At this point, we think we have good variety," says Beavers, who adds that company kitchens are still testing pasta, pizza and chicken dishes.
And as other fast food chains have put more businesses on their plates, McDonald's, points out Beavers, has "kept to its knitting." No appetite for equipment companies at the Big M; no cravings to buy its own distributors. Such is the strategy, says Beavers, that has helped McDonald's savor record earnings for more than 100 consecutive quarters.
Beavers, who appeared on BE's list of the "25 Hottest Managers" in 1988 is known as a crusader. Thanks largely to his efforts, some of the first black franchisees signed on with McDonald's in the '70s. Two decades later, the George Washington University graduate is pushing for gains on another front.
"Many of our customers are minority," notes Beavers, who exhorts McDonald's to reflect that fact in both its franchise and supplier bases. In addition to some of its "high profile" suppliers (like Chicago-based Quality Croutons), Beavers hopes to find more minority-owned bun, meat and general contractors. Says he: "If we can do that, it will pay off at the counter." No doubt, he'll be there to ring up the sales.
Alfred F. Boschulte
To Alfred F. Boschulte, less is often more--especially when the topic is phones. The president of NYNEX's Mobile Communications Co., he helps customers place "wireless" calls on "seamless" networks.
Talk about making connections.
"Our goal is to make cellular service easier to use," explains Boschulte, 50. "Seamlessness creates one [network] fabric, so customers can use their service any place, any time."
Based in Orangeburg, N.Y., NYNEX Mobile serves more than 370,000 subscribers in New York, Boston, Buffalo and other Northeastern cities. Its 1991 revenues of $329 million may seem like small change, compared with $13 billion NYNEX. But hang on. With over 10 million customers up for grabs in the $6.7 billion industry, the long-term stakes for NYNEX Mobile are sky-high. In just five years, Mobile's customer base has swelled by nearly 500%.
With more companies, vying for a piece of the cellular pie, Boschulte must make NYNEX stand out. His latest test came last November, when AT&T announced plans to buy a third of McCaw Cellular Communications Inc. By pairing up with $1.4 billion McCaw--the nation's biggest cellular provider--AT&T will compete with the local Bells for cellular customers.
"It's a wake-up call," says Boschulte, who has decried the deal as as "the wireless a roach" to reviving the Bell system.
"It means we have to become better and better competitors."
Between 1991 and 1992, bracing for the inevitable cellular wars, Boschulte invested $270 million to improve Mobile's cell sites and digital switches. He also doubled training hours for the business' 1,200 employees.
And to keep pace, he's aiming to lure more home and leisure-time users. To snag them, he's launched a special pricing plan with low, off-peak rates. The goal: hook new subscribers at bargain prices and bet they'll go wireless for life.
Boschulte, who received bachelor's and master's degrees from The City University of New York (CUNY), is enjoying his second power post at NYNEX in six years. Back in 1988, he secured a place on our list of the "25 Hottest Black Managers," as vice president for carrier services at NYNEX's $3.3 billion Carrier Services Co. And what does he say of Mobile's chances at growing to that size? "I think our revenues can be spectacular."
Kenneth I. Chenault
Playing the card game at American Express Co. (AMEX) takes a strong and steady hand. No one knows that better than Kenneth I. Chenault. "In the '80s, we focused on acquiring customers," says Chenault, president of the charge card group for American Express Travel Related Services Co. Inc. "The challenge for the '90s is to earn the loyalty of our existing card members and build relationships."
Actually, his task is stiffer than that. With a new guard coming in at Amex, Chenault can expect close scrutiny as he revives his division from a lackluster year. In 1992, "memberships" dropped off by 1.4 million. Merchants revolted over fees as fat as 5%. And after feeling the sting of recession, many Amex cardholders--free-wheeling spenders in the '80s--slammed their wallet shut. As for the cards' highly touted privileges? Critics likened them to the Emperor's new clothes: lavish, yet invisible.
Still, Chenault, 40, is optimistic. "We have to work tremendously hard to differentiate our products so that we're a quantum leap ahead of the competition," he says. Among the newer perks: Last year, Amex launched "Members of Distinction," which pampers cardholders with their own personal representative.
Chenault, who was named one of BE's "25 Hottest Black Managers" in 1988, thinks the efforts are paying off. Though Amex suffers from eroding market share, spending on its 25 million cards was up by 8% in the third quarter of 1992.
The Harvard-trained lawyer readily admits, for instance, that Amex has been "arrogant and inflexible" toward its merchants and wants to make amends. High-profile stores will enjoy joint marketing efforts on Amex's tab, and mom-and pop shops are being courted like never before. Chenault has refocused the priorities of his sales force, so that 80% of their time is spent grooming existing accounts, with the remaining 20% devoted to signing new vendors.
Amex is also tempering snob appeal with practicality and wit. The New York City-based company has hired comic Jerry Seinfeld to mug for the cameras and preach against revolving debt. On the other hand, stores like Kmart, once shunned, are now welcomed into the Amex fold.
Does all this mean Amex will no longer be the plastic of patricians? Hardly. "We're not interested in being all things to all people," says Chenault, whose target customer is still high-end. "I don't believe in empty prestige."
Virgis W. Colbert
Virgis W. Colbert doesn't mince words. Ask him what he does for the nation's second-largest beer maker, Miller Brewing Co., and his response is amber-clear: "We make the beer, package the beer and ship the beer to the right places at the right time."
Each year, a sea of beer-44 million barrels in 1991,to be precise--flows from the massive taps at Miller. The vice president of plant operations, Colbert oversees Miller's 17 brewing, bottling and processing facilities." It's exhilarating, to say the least," says Colbert, commander of a multibillion-dollar budget and a work force of 8,000. "[This job] is integral to what we are about as a company.
Indeed, in the competitive beer business, taste and image are everything. Colbert, 53, does his part to ensure the former: smooth-running plants make for smooth-tasting beer.
The Central Michigan University graduate earned his spurs at Chrysler Corp., where he stepped up from supervisor to general manufacturing superintendent and gained experience in plant management. Colbert switched from cars to suds 14 years ago, launching his career with the $4 billion brewer as a junior plant manager in Reidsville, N.C., in 1979. By 1989, he had risen to vice president; along the way, he rejected offers to switch from a line to a staff position--a common pattern for many African-American managers. His reason for sticking with plants? "I didn't want to be pigeonholed," he says. "I refused those offers because I wanted to have a direct impact on the profit and loss of the company."
He certainly has. In 1991, Colbert proved he could boost earnings at Miller, which is wholly-owned by Philip Morris Cos. Inc. That year, operating income grew 13.3%, despite a doubling of the federal excise tax on beer and a tiny 0.4% rise in volume.
Part of the surge came from the opening of a new Miller Draft plant in Trenton, Ohio. According to Colbert, this brewery, which emphasizes team production rather than assembly lines, may serve as a model for other Miller plants.
Despite his authority, Colbert doesn't believe in "managing" in the traditional sense. He leads by example. "My job is to define the objectives and then empower subordinates to meet them," he explains. "I don't micromanage, and I ask my workers to accept failure as a learning vehicle."
Joseph S. Colson 'Jr.
Next time you pick up a telephone, think of Joseph S. Colson Jr. Chances are, he's the man behind your dial tone--and your connection. As vice president of the Switching Systems-U.S. Division for American Telephone & Telegraph Co. (AT&T), Colson helps devise the equipment that directs voice traffic across the United States.
"My role in the switching organization is to develop and deliver the systems our customers need," says Colson, who oversees research and development, product management, strategic planning and support for the $1 billion-plus division. Costing $1 million and more, the highly complex switches contain a labyrinth of computer codes and deliver such advanced capabilities as call-trace and caller-ID.
Colson, 45, is on the line to keep the $63 million telecommunications giant's switching technology current. An engineer by
training, Colson received his B.A. from North Carolina State University and a master's from Stanford University. He then spent 10 years in AT&T's research and development trenches, which has helped him understand the value of managing quality.
Indeed, clients such as Baby Bells and GTE can't afford glitches and are apt to select systems on the basis of service and support BellSouth, for example, knows Colson's commitment to quality firsthand. After the first gusts of Hurricane Andrew, he dispatched a mobile switching unit to Florida--before he was even asked to.
Lines were up and running at Homestead Air Force Base within a week. Attention like that, says Colson," adds value" to AT&T.
The stakes are high in the $5.4 billion switching market, which is presently dominated by AT&T and Northern Telecom Ltd.
One recent threat: a speedy Japanese digital switch system that some analysts says may eventually render AT&T's programs obsolete. But Colson, who appeared on BE's 1988 listing of the "25 Hottest Black Managers," isn't about to be left hanging. He says that his team will have a similar system in place by mid-decade.
Meanwhile, Colson's engineers are leading the way in the U.S. digital telephone revolution with the Integrated Service Data Network, or ISDN. This network will allow users to communicate via phone, computer and display screen--all on one line. Products like that, says Colson, will help AT&T to "make and shake the market for the next 20 years."
Curtis J. Crawford
Shaping the technology of the world's largest telecommunications company is no easy task. But in August of 1991, when Curtis J. Crawford got the call to step in as vice president of American Telephone & Telegraph Co.'s ((AT&T) Microelectronics division, he answered with a set of bold ideas.
"We're shifting from a technology-driven to a market-driven company," says Crawford, 43. "I'm working to accelerate that change so that we can satisfy customers with solutions, rather than just generate the latest technology."
That's some adjustment, considering that Crawford's $2 billion division produces components found in personal computers, cellular devices, workstations and local area networks--the very products fueling today's high-tech revolution. Many of these systems, in fact, helped generate AT&T's $522 million in profits for 1991. But rising overhead costs, coupled with plant improvements and global competition, have dictated a new course. For no matter how dazzling, Crawford says, new technology won't always pay for itself.
Along with the division president, Crawford is working to retool Microelectronics' six separate businesses. A former IBM marketing guru who switched over to AT&T in 1988, Crawford has moved judiciously to implement just-in-time management. This system puts a tight lock on inventory, by ensuring that supplies will arrive on the same day they're to be used.
Crawford, who was picked as one of BE's "25 Hottest Black Managers" in 1988, explains: "We're creating new leading-edge products, and we're beating our competitors to the market." Whereas products once spent up to two years on the the drawing boards, "we're now developing them in as little as nine months."
Already, recent breakthroughs, such as AT&T's "Personal Communicator"--a combination computer, fax machine and telephone device introduced in November--have sales teams excited.
To better compete in the global economy, the DePaul University MBA has "right-sized" the division from 22,000to 20,000 employees. And his 16 manufacturing plants are gearing up to meet quality standards in 130 countries. Four of the facilities are already fully certified, which Crawford says "should give us a competitive edge in the market when we're calling on customers."
Odie C. Donald
Bigger may be better in the jungle. On the cellular battlefront, however, pint-sized just might be preferable. That's what Odie C. Donald, the 44-year-old president of BellSouth Mobility (BSM), is betting. With 700,000 customers in seven Southeastern states, Donald's $600 million company is no lightweight. But as rivals knuckle into the crowded cellular field, BSM can count on a head-to-head clash.
"I think it will be fun, us little guys beating the giants," says an undaunted Donald. Competitors should take his jabs seriously. Propelled by his marketing savvy, the Atlanta-based BSM has raced ahead by 40% since 1991, compared to a 25% industry average.
What's his weapon? Name recognition, for starters. BellSouth, BSM's parent company, is the second-largest ($14 billion) utility in the United State, and Donald wagers that the familiar brand has as much value to his regional customers as, say, an AT&T.
His razor-sharp vision should also help BSM outwit the giants. While competitors were still scratching their heads over potential markets, Donald was busy sniffing out innovative outlets for cellular service. In 1989, as vice president of marketing, he made deals with Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Ford Motor Co. to pitch cellular service alongside phones and cars. Such forward thinking, no doubt, helped him land his present job in 1992.
Today, Donald has harnessed a direct sales force, a telemarketing team and retail stores to tap such markets as corporate accounts. "We want to attract customers and care for them in an exceptional way. Few companies deliver on both counts." His evidence: In 1992, net income at BSM shot up by 90%.
Always thinking ahead, Donald is partnering with other local Bells to achieve "easy roaming" so that "a customer can drive anywhere and make and receive calls without having to do anything extra." For crisper sound, Donald last year doled out $160 million for new equipment.
A graduate of Northern Illinois University at DeKalb, Donald stays connected to his ranks. Last year, he launched a motivational program, "Ideas For improvement" (IFI). Eager workers turned in over 2,000 suggestions in seven months, and at least one idea saved the company $1 00,000. IFI proved such a hit, in fact, that the program has a new moniker: "I've Fixed It." And as long as Donald is in charge, you can bet things won't get broke.
Forest J. Farmer
Cranking up quality at Chrysler Corp. has put Forest J. Farmer in the fast lane. Farmer, the president of Acustar Inc., the automaker's $2 billion component parts subsidiary, explains: "I helped convince the organization that quality improvements had to be made for us to compete worldwide."
Farmer, who started as a foreman trainee at Chrysler back in 1968, has managed to keep Acustar profitable even when its parent company stalled. Wielding budgets that range from $200 million to $350 million, he has steered productivity at the subsidiary, which has 16,000 employees and 17 factories in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
How did Farmer do it? First, the 52-year-old Purdue University graduate scrapped unprofitable lines, including Acustar's glass and thermal, electrical systems, electronics and plastics divisions. He next slashed his work force by 15% and tied productivity to Chrysler's employee incentive plan, called "Gain Sharing."
The result: "We've been able to increase productivity with fewer workers while making it profitable for the company," says Farmer.
And that's no shaft. Although Acustar's revenues have fallen since 1988, its profits are up. "We started off with returns on sales that were 2%," says Farmer. "We're now up around 4.5%."
That's not half z bad for a company that just two years ago was rumored to be up for sale. As one of Chrysler's key suppliers, the fine-tuned Acustar has so far helped the company save roughly $156 million in production costs. In a dramatic comeback from the previous year, Chrysler was the only Big Three automaker that made a profit in 1992.
Still, Farmer insists Acustar can't afford to coast on short-term success. Today, he notes that the company fills about 88% of its orders with Chrysler. Yet with the U.S. auto industry still sluggish, he knows that further growth will have to come from independent companies and from customers overseas.
As he braces the subsidiary to compete in gridlocked foreign auto markets, Farmer continues his quest for quality. "What will make the difference is our ability to motivate people and produce a finished product that is better than any other," he says.
Ann M. Fudge
KRAFT GENERAL FOODS
Ann M. Fudge got turned on to business by one of the best. While an undergraduate at Simmons College in Boston, an adviser steered her to the corporate world, insisting that she had the smarts, and the guts, to make it big. That woman was Margaret Henning, author of the groundbreaking The Managerial Woman, and later a founder of the Simmons business school.
Good thing Fudge took the advice. Today, she is an executive vice president at General Foods USA (GFUSA), a unit of Kraft General Foods, where she is the general manager of the $600 million Dinners and Enhancers division. Shepherding such household staples as Minute Rice, Log Cabin Syrup and Stove Top Stuffing, Fudge has achieved double-digit growth in both sales and earnings since taking over in April of 1991.
That's quite an accomplishment even for this marketing magician, given how KGF's food business is a bit sticky these days. Lower-priced private-label goods have tempted--and won over--many cost-conscious buyers. The result is that company-wide sales increased a mere 1% in 1991.
Positioning her division to help guard KGF's market share, Fudge has dipped into her $150 million budget to spiff up her ad campaigns. New packaging and products, too, should help her brands stand out on the shelves. Meanwhile, Fudge hopes to retain loyal KGF consumers with special promotions such as recipe clubs."
Selected as one of BE's "21 Women of Power and Influence" 1991, the Harvard MBA worked as a marketing assistant at General Mills Inc. before arriving at the White Plains, N.Y.-based KGF in 1991. (KGF is the food subsidiary of Philip Morris Cos. Inc.)
Fudge, 41, is keenly aware that her job is to stretch profits, which makes for a juggling act Do you give up developing new products or reduce advertising? "Fortunately, I haven't had to make too many trade-offs," she says. But she's pulled the plug on at least one multi-million-dollar project. "You have to know when to shut those [failures] off," she says. Responding to the nation's health kick, Fudge is looking to improve the nutritional value of some of her brands. "There's a fine line between what consumers want and what they're ready to accept from a taste standpoint," she says. "The challenge is not to get too far ahead of them."
Hayward R. Gipson, Jr.
Round dishes or square? That's one question Hayward R. Gipson Jr. is apt to ponder when sizing up foreign markets for Corning Inc. "The way we sell products is dramatically different from country to country," says Gipson, vice president and general manager for Corning's Vitro International. Round, shapes go over big in Europe, he explains. Americans are strictly square.
At $3 billion Corning--whose labels include Pyrex, Visions, Corning ware and Revere--Gipson is charged with the manufacturing and marketing of all consumer houseware products outside the United States, including Europe, Canada, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. These sales are handled today through $700 million Corning Vitro, an equity venture that's 51% owned by Corning (the her 49% is controlled by Mexican-owned Vitro Corp.)
Gipson, a Princeton graduate who lacked international experience prior to joining Corning in 1989, has quickly warmed up to markets where "nothing's the same." In Mexico, for instance, Corning plates and tumblers get hawked off the backs of trucks, and are typically sold on installment plans. Products in the Philippines find their way to cupboards via female representatives, who display Corning products at Tupperware-style parties.
Keeping a handle on market quirks--not to mention manufacturing facilities in four countries and a global work force of 3,000-is a dizzying assignment, one that keeps him on the road more than 50% of the time. One thing, however, remains constant Gipson's knack for shining up tarnished markets and targeting hot new regions.
Battling weak economic forces in Western Europe, for instance, Gipson, 47, has reduced operating expenses there by 20% since 1990. Staff reductions were part of his game plan; but more importantly, he simply "stopped chasing volume" where sales weren't likely to pan out.
Gipson, previously a marketing executive at Playtex Inc., is pushing these days for further expansion overseas. The Far East and Latin America, he says, look especially promising. Revenues in those fertile regions have grown by 10% a year since 1988. And the glass is only half full: Corning's 1992 alliance with Vitro Corp. adds products that are 100% incremental. "We see a whole new range of opportunities worldwide," says Gipson.
Ronald E. Goldsberry
Here is a man who enjoys getting into "nuts and bolts" issues at Ford Motor Co.--literally. As general sales and marketing manager of Ford's parts and service division, Ronald E. Goldsberry, 50, oversees the quality and cost-effective delivery of more than 300,000 engine and body parts manufactured by the Big Three automaker. He also heads all service operations that support some 6,000 Ford and Lincoln Mercury car dealerships and Motorcraft parts distributors.
His promotion to second-in-command at Ford's $4.5 billion parts and service division in 1991 placed him in a key position at a critical time for the $88.3 billion company. Smooth-running parts and top-notch service, after all, are integral to customer satisfaction and loyalty. "We have an impact on market share and ultimately on the company's profitability," he says.
That's a hefty burden, especially in the wake of the industry's tremendous losses since 1987, when he first joined Ford as general manager of its plastics division. In 1991 alone, Ford reported a $2.26 billion loss, due in part to a weak domestic economy and the strength of foreign competitors.
To combat these unfavorable market forces, Goldsberry, who in 1988 was recognized as one of BE's "25 Hottest Black Managers," has begun juggling the priorities and redeploying the assets of his 6,900-employee division. "We're making customer service and satisfaction the highest priority."
Backed up by more than two years of research on his customers and competitors, the Stanford University MBA is rolling out new quality standards for both sales and service. Among them: customer "acknowledgement" within two minutes of arrival at a dealership and a promise of a completed service order within four minutes.
The emphasis on quality and service is vital to the automaker's future. For example: Goldsberry's Dearborn, Mich.-based division produces many of the components in the new Lincoln Mark VIII coupe; it will also outfit a future line of luxury cars designed to rival Nissan's Infiniti Q145, Toyota's Lexus LS400 and Honda's Acura Legend. To stand out, Ford must "make sure that we are providing customer satisfaction and service at levels that are better than the foreign competition," Goldsberry stresses. Such a retooling should put and keep Ford in the economic fast lane.
Ira D. Hall
It's not your typical executive who regards a nine-figure account balance as "small." But for Ira D. Hall, treasurer of IBM U.S., keeping the company liquid to the tune of $1 billion or more per day is simply status quo.
"I am certainly known as Mr. Cash," muses Hall, who was named to his current post in December 1990. A self-described "in-house banker," he coordinates all portfolio investments, cash flow planning and banking administration for IBM's nine separate business units. Additionally, he oversees risk and insurance management for the company worldwide. Minding the till from IBM headquarters in Purchase, N.Y., Hall must ensure the timely availability of IBM funds--without penalty--to cover all company expenditures. That can mean coughing up one, three, or five billion dollars--in any given week. To snare the best return for IBM's resources Hall, a former investment banker, stashes funds in short-term, high quality instruments, such as commercial paper and Treasury bills. Working with a team of three analysts, he sets investment targets to beat published averages.
"Our objective is to always be higher than the market," says Hall, who claims to be doing well in this area. He has improved his forecasts, Hall says, by timing transactions aggressively and hopping on movements in the yield curve.
More than just a gatekeeper, Hall, 48, acts as a consultant to each of the business units, helping them increase their cash flow productivity. "We continuously probe every single use of cash," says Hall, who works with IBM executives to hone their forecasting methods for upcoming cash needs.
In the wake of the company's 1991 restructuring and subsequent stock price dive, Hall's penny-pinching has become increasingly crucial. An IBM recovery, say analysts, means the $65 billion company must wring profits from every possible corner.
"I hope to go beyond a treasury perspective and look at how I can interpret my expertise to other functions," says the the Stanford MBA. By urging IBM'S marketing, research and development teams to be more mindful of their purse strings, Hall feels he can help "add value and enhance (IBM's) total customer base."
Hall, who appeared on BE's list of the "25 Hottest Black Managers" in 1988, has held four jobs in seven years at IBM. Of his rise, he says that he is "pleased with the pace. "After all, in the world of finance, agility is the name of the game.
Dennis F. Hightower
THE WALT DISNEY CO.
Think Parisians winced at the opening of Euro Disney? Noses really flared last August, when a Disney retailer set up shop just steps from Chanel, on tony Rue St. Honore. Quelle horreur!
They'll come around. Disney's Dennis F. Hightower is counting on it. "The French are slow to accept things new and different," says the executive vice president, Disney Consumer Products, Europe and the Middle East. "But we'll be here for a long time."
Indeed, with its latest theme park up and running, The Walt Disney Co. is cutting a high profile overseas. "Euro Disney is [the company's] major investment of the century," says Hightower, whose division spent $50 million promoting the park through catalogs and merchandise tie-ins. "The idea for us is to give a link to the park through a toy, a jacket or book."
A Harvard MBA, Paris-based Hightower has helped to transform the tiniest Disney division into the fastest-growing part of the "Kingdom." Sales for consumer products--which includes books, toys and apparel--have doubled over the past three years, soaring from 6% to 12% of company revenues.
When we selected Hightower as one of BE's "25 Hottest Black Managers" in 1988, the European operations served as little more than licensors. But today, it produces and markets much of its own goods. The bottom line, says Hightower, is that: "We can now take most of the profit margin rather than give it away."
To that end, Hightower, 51, has eliminated 400 minor partners "who couldn't compete in the new Europe," replacing them with "value-added" players like Nestle and Mattel. He helped buy the company's publishing operations in Italy and purchased a textile facility in Portugal which supplies Euro Disney stores.
Given a territory that spans 28 countries, from the Polar Cap to the Persian Gulf, Hightower travels constantly. "I like to visit our retailers and see products in their selling environment," he says. After all, "this business is about relationships."
Lately, Hightower's been thinking small. This spring he'll launch "Disney Babies," a line of blankets, cribs and other items for tots featuring an infant Mickey and friends. Worth an estimated $1.6 billion, the European pre-school market is to Disney what honey is to Winnie the Pooh. "There's no coherent force there--yet," says an anxious Hightower. "We think we can be it."
Maurice F. Holmes
When the Xerox Corp. reorganized into nine separate divisions last July, Maurice F. Holmes got handed one of the pieces. Now, as the president of Office Document Systems, Holmes has the vision--and the powerbase--to shape the workplace of the future. Says he: "I have been empowered to make all decisions necessary to meet the objectives of my business."
Holmes' autonomy, which allows him to develop, market and distribute advanced office printing systems, is crucial to reproducing success at $18 billion Xerox. The company has a long history of developing cutting-edge technologies, but often lagged in bringing them to market. Xerox's new structure, Holmes says, has spawned an environment that's more creative and productive.
Clearly enthused, Holmes is working on a fleet of advanced machines that will "take color printing out of the production center and into the office."
"Color printers," he says, "improve comprehension and bring out knowledge in documents." One hot newcomer is a color laser printer that plugs into a computer network. It's just the breed of product that Xerox is counting on to spark double-digit revenue growth by mid-decade.
Featured as one of BE's "25 Hottest Black Managers" in 1988, Holmes 49 is a master of product delivery. In his 19 years at the Stamford, Conn.-based company, he has developed several standouts. He was the chief engineer, for instance, behind Xerox's 4850 color highlight printer, one of the first such devices designed for office use. Fittingly, Holmes has seven patents to his credit.
Holmes, who received a master's degree in mechanical science from the University of Rochester, is also setting the stage for systems that can copy, print and fax on a single network. "The area of multifunctioning is one we're technically positioned to participate in," he says. One thing Holmes won't be duplicating is the company's traditional mode of selling. "The market for office document systems is growing year," notes Holmes. "It would be unwise to approach that kind of growth with a direct-only sales force." Thus, Americans can expect to find a broader range of Xerox products in more outlets in 1993 and 1994. The Xerox logo will be cropping up for the first time ever in retail stores--in color, of course.
Michele J. Hooper
Michele J. Hooper may be spending most of her time at 37,000 feet these days, but her career is in anything but a holding pattern. The 17-year Baxter International Inc. veteran has a new assignment, which once again puts her on the cutting edge of health care delivery.
At $1.4 billion Caremark International (which spun off last November from Baxter), Hooper is the president of the International Business Group (IBG). IBG was founded on the belief that quality "alternatives" exist to costly hospital care and services--and that they can be marketed overseas.
"Most countries have a more socialized health system than the United States," explains Hooper. Her job is to sell the IBG portfolio of businesses, including ambulatory clinics, nutritional therapies and mail-order drugs, in six countries.
This isn't the first time Hooper is proving her stuff on foreign soil. From 1988 to 1991, she served as president of Baxter Corp., the health products and services giant's largest subsidiary, which is based in Mississauga, Ontario (Canada). There, she refocused the business on service and quality, raising revenues by 20%.
At 41, Hooper's resume shows how her career is truly based on the sum of its parts. After earning an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in finance and accounting from the University of Chicago, she landed her first job at Baxter in 1976 as a senior financial analyst.
Eight years later, she became vice president of corporate planning. Hooper's charge: to dissect the changing U.S. health care market. "One of the most important emerging trends then was a desire to move care out of hospitals," she recalls. Nearly a decade later, that simple discovery became the premise behind Caremark's IBG.
Based in Northbrook, Ill., Hooper spends her days hopping time zones. She meets with physicians, government reimbursers and private insurers in Europe and Japan--anyone, that is, with an interest in putting a lock on spiraling health care costs. Hooper has a captive audience, as other nations race to cut costs before their health care systems implode. However, selling the "alternate site" concept abroad is hardly a breeze, given how health care bureaucracies vary from country to country. "We're not just building a business," Hooper points out "We're creating a market."
Mannie L. Jackson
At Honeywell Inc., Mannie L. Jackson builds business from the ground up. A 24-year veteran of the company, he is senior vice president for the $2.3 billion International and Home and Buildings Control (IHBC) business unit. The title, however, doesn't quite capture the essence of his job. Jackson, put simply, is Honeywell's ultimate salesperson.
Honeywell is the $7 billion, Minneapolis-based company that specializes in control systems for commercial and residential buildings. That thermostat on your wall, for instance? It's probably a Honeywell product. The company also makes devices for commercial, industrial and aviation applications.
In the face of a declining real estate market--the butter on Honeywell's broad--Jackson has the key mission of finding new pockets of opportunity. "We realize that people have to get greater mileage out of their existing structures," says Jackson, 54. To unlock the door to sales, says Jackson, Honeywell has become "very good at retrofitting."
Jackson describes himself as a facilitator. He spends his days meeting with a IHBC's sales teams and a diverse, global clientele. These range from CEOs and mayors to school superintendents and building managers. Whomever the customer, the goal is the same: to convince them that Honeywell's products are superior and cost-effective. Apparently, he's got the gift of gab. In 1992, Jackson's golden tongue helped win Honeywell over $500 million in new contracts.
A talented strategist, Jackson hunts down promising alliances for Honeywell. "There was a time when we thought of ourselves as contractors," says Jackson. "Now we're less a contractor and more a partnership. It's a strategy that's allowed us to grow while the industry's remained flat." Not surprisingly, he was the brains behind six recent alliances, with such companies as AT&T and DuPont.
Jackson, who holds an MBA rom the University of Detroit, was also instrumental in the '80s, when Honeywell d d some renovating of its own. It was Jackson who, in the midst of the '80s merger and acquisition mania, directed the "venture center." In that capacity, he helped seal deals to acquire seven small telecommunications companies.
A diverse background--which includes a stint with the Harlem Globetrotters--has added to Jackson's success. Says he: "There's no substitute for hard work and integrity."
Arthur E. Johnson
Developing customized computer systems for submarines and the space shuttle isn't what you'd normally expect from International Business Machines (IBM). However, for Arthur E. Johnson, tactical defense is his company's best offensive strategy. Johnson, 47, is president and chief operating officer of Federal Systems Co. (FSC), a little-known $3 billion subsidiary of the $65 billion computer behemoth.
IBM has conducted business with the federal government for the past 35 years. But girding for cutbacks in military spending, Johnson has implemented a "Strategic Market Management Process," to help stem the potential revenue loss.
"We're identifying emerging markets and prioritizing our resources to develop new revenue bases--income that will drive our business over the next five years," says Johnson. In other words, his FSC troops are brainstorming to anticipate the military's future technical needs.
Last year, FSC won a $400 million contract to build the Close Combat Tactical Trainer, an interactive simulator that allows the U.S. Army to simultaneously train personnel in different geographic regions via a computer network. "We identified [simulation training] as an evolving trend three years ago," says the Morehouse College graduate. "It may not be a big revenue generator now, but we must get involved today to be competitive two to three years down the road."
It has also meant redirecting his workforce of 11,000 technical workers and engineers to develop information systems for civilian agencies and foreign customers. Setting his sights on increasing FSC's international business, Johnson has leveraged his expertise and contacts with the U.S. military to win contracts abroad. So far, he's landed jobs to build air traffic control systems for Taiwan and England. According to Johnson, 7.5% of FSC's 1992 revenue came from overseas.
Of his 23 years at Big Blue, Johnson has spent 18 of them moving up the FSC ranks. Prior to assuming his post last April, Johnson spent 15 months as executive assistant to IBM chairman, John Akers. This past November, Johnson was appointed an IBM vice president.
"We're working with some of the most exciting technology in the world," says Johnson. Mere are tough challenges still ahead of me in this job, but I'm having a lot of fun meeting them."
Jerry L. Jonhson
U S WEST
In an industry where change is a constant, Jerry L. Johnson has a knack for making things work to his advantage. Last December, he was named vice president of Network and Technology Services at Denver-based U S West Communications. His assignment: transform the phone company's aging systems into a top-notch information network.
"We're managing changes caused by the growth and modernization of the telephone industry," says Johnson, named in 1988 as one of Be's "25 Hottest Black Managers." Old copper-based telephone lines, he explains, can't handle the demands of a larger, more sophisticated market. "Wireless fiber optics and other transmission technologies will help us take advantage of the explosion in voice, data and video communications," he says.
Video? That's right. Like many large telecommunications companies today, the $11 billion Baby Bell must learn to do more than just talk. Demand for voice systems skims along at just 3% to 6% a year. The biggest growth potential lies in video and data technology, two areas slated to soar by as much as 20% and 50% a year, respectively. "For us to keep up," Johnson says, "we've got to retrain our work force."
In his previous job as vice president for the western region, Johnson introduced "Work Force Renewal." In the introspective program, managers and employees assess their own skills and develop strategies for improvements by the year 2000. Each of the division's 26,000 workers, Johnson says, can expect formal retraining.
The adjustments won't come cheaply or easily. To reconnect U S West, Johnson, 45, has tapped his $3 billion budget for capital improvements and technology upgrades. Much of it goes toward replacing copper cables and expanding service areas.
To stand out in an increasingly competitive field, U S West has formed a joint venture with AT&T and Tele-Communications Inc. to zap pay-perview cable service from television to telephone lines. Other new wave offerings will include a Dick Tracy-style wristwatch phone which is still in development.
Aiming for the highest standards, Johnson says, "demonstrates to our customers that we are a state-of-the-art business, and we intend to be competitive for the year 2000 and beyond."
James G. Kaiser
James G. Kaiser doesn't mind getting his hands dirty. As the president and CEO of Enseco Inc., Corning Inc.'s environmental testing arm, he knows that the digging gets deep. After all, analyzing soil samples for hazardous waste is just part of the job for the Denver-based Enseco, the nation's largest network of environmental laboratories .
Tougher "green" laws and increased public awareness have made environmental cleanup and testing a boom industry. And managers with Kaiser's technical and managerial background are in great demand. "The whole industry is changing," says Kaiser, who holds a master's degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The challenge for environmental companies, he says, is to merge technical prowess with professional expertise. "It is my job to build Enseco's management systems, to make them more profitable and expand the business from what it is today."
In 1991, Enseco accounted for roughly 10% of Corning's $1.3 billion Lab Services Inc. unit. Kaiser, 49, predicts that business can double in size, "if the market continues to function as it has."
In fact Kaisers biggest challenge is to ready Enseco to tap the exploding $1.5 billion environmental lab testing industry. Over the next three years, contracts worth millions will be up for grabs, as both government and private sector clients scramble to meet deadlines for cleaning up contaminated sites.
Enseco's customers include military installations and large corporations. Kaiser is striving to deliver high performance in testing including faster and more accurate analysis of data. Such attention to detail won his technical products division a Corning Quality Award, shortly before Kaiser was promoted to head Enseco last June.
Kaiser uses a people-oriented management style to coax the division's more than 1,000 workers into maximizing their full potential. "The employees are the company," he says. "You need a highly motivated team that is empowered to do the work, has excellent communication skills and is supported by management. That will get you the competitive position in the marketplace that you need."
Approaching his 25th year at Corning, Kaiser relishes the chance to continue leading a company in a growth field. "I've always wanted to be president of a large operating unit," he says. "I'm confident the opportunities here can fulfill the vision I have for myself."
George R. Lewis
George R. Lewis is a financial point guard. Vice president and treasurer of the Philip Morris Cos. Inc. (PMC) since 1984, Lewis has blended experience and market dexterity to boost PMC's profits. "My primary responsibility is to make certain that I have funds available at anytime to support the growth of Philip Morris," he explains.
That's a big job, considering the rate at which the conglomerate gushes cash. Through 1996, free cash flow is projected to exceed $20 billion, or roughly $500,000 per hour. Revenues for the tobacco, beer and food giant (which owns Miller Brewing Co. and Kraft General Foods) were pegged at $55 billion for 1992.
Greasing the money wheels for the New York City-based company is a top priority for Lewis, 51. He invests excess cash in the markets "at a timely and prudent rate," while borrowing funds at the lowest possible cost. His other specialties are acquisitions and debt repayments, two functions that have become increasingly important in PMC's global assault.
Lately, Lewis is helping PMC satisfy its appetite for companies abroad. Among other deals, he arranged financing for the 1990 purchase of Jacobs Suchard, a $4 billion Swiss candy maker. A $413 million acquisition of Tabak, a Czechoslovakian cigarette manufacturer, is currently underway.
Lewis, who holds an M.A. in finance from Iona College and a B.A. in accounting from Hampton University, was named five years' ago as one of BE "25 Hottest Black Managers" in Corporate America. He was cited for his role in the company's 1985 purchase of General Foods, which he helped pull off by raising $6 billion in 48 hours.
PMC's deep pockets demand that Lewis stay on top of divisional performance, while keeping a broad view. Though a PMC stock dip, for instance, might stress shareholders, it can signal opportunities from within. It was Lewis who delivered the funds for PMC's $3 billion share repurchase last May, the biggest in the company's history.
Last year, Lewis scored additional points at PMC. Inspired by low interest rates both at home and abroad, he refinanced more than $2 billion in medium- and long-term debt. After all, there's no end to chasing down cheaper money, says Lewis. For that, "we'd go anywhere in the world."
Alfred T. Mays
JOHNSON & JOHNSON
Alfred T. Mays is making the kinds of strides in corporate America usually reserved for MBAs--not chemistry majors. In his 22years at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the $12 billion pharmaceutical company, Mays has gone from a lab gofer to a management position, rising to become the president of not one, but two J&J businesses.
"I was one of the fortunate students who always knew what I wanted to do," says Mays, recalling his upbringing in Hempstead, New York. "I was interested in science in high even though I didn't exactly get great grades."
If only his old teachers could see him now.
In May of 1990, Mays, 45, was named to head up J&J's Advanced Materials Company (formerly known as Chicopee).
Its diverse line of fabrics are used to make everything from operating gowns to feminine hygiene products. With revenues of roughly $200 million, Advanced Materials' primary role is to supply products and product components to J&J's internal affiliates. Mays also oversees J&J's Worldwide Absorbent Products, a research division for the company's professional, pharmaceutical and consumer businesses.
Mays' move out of the lab in 1987 was a rare coup. The New Brunswick, N.J.-based company took a chance on the scientist when the products he brought to market showed promise. His improvements to the Care-Free Panty Shields line, for instance, won Mays the Johnson Medal in 1984, the company's highest honor for scientific achievement. "That gave me visibility," he says.
Though he describes himself as shy, Mays has a knack for impressing the right people. He was recruited to J&J straight out of Hampton University in Virginia by Dr. Peter Britton, one of the few black scientists then working for the company.
Reflecting on his mentor, Mays says, "There's no question that he [Britton] smoothed the path for me."
And it seems only logical that Mays' path will continue to spiral upward: Advanced Materials has been known to be a springboard for some of the company's top managers.
Two of Mays' predecessors, in fact, have landed plum posts. One of the last to do so? Ralph Larsen. Today, his colleagues call him CEO.
Richard D. Nanula
THE WALT DISNEY CO.
Over the years, The Walt Disney Co. has seen its share of whiz kids, One of the entertainment giant's biggest stars, though, is someone you'll never see on the screen: the 32-year-old Los Angeles native behind the company's books. Barely seven years out of graduate school, Richard D. Nanula is the senior vice president and CFO of the $6 billion Walt Disney Co.--just six notches down the roster from CEO Michael Eisner.
While Nanula's ascent may seem hyper-fast, the University of California at Santa Barbara graduate was always a quick study. In 1986, Disney's former CFO Gary Wilson snapped up Nanula, a recent Harvard MBA. Nanula proved himself so deft an analyst that, in 1988, he became director of strategic planning, responsible for development and acquisitions. In that post, he was involved in such deals as the sale of Disney's Arvida Corp., a community development subsidiary, as well as the purchase of Wrather Corp. and Childcraft Education Corp.
Before turning 30 in 1989, Nanula landed the job of vice president and treasurer, where as a CPA he took control of Disney's foreign exchange, cash management, pension and investment activities. That was also the time when he began to lead his own deals.
"Creative financing"--the packaging of unusual deals--is Nanula's forte. In 1990, he directed a $965 million offering of liquid yield option notes (LYONs) to help finance Euro Disney. It was the largest convertible bond issue ever and the first time that U.S. investors could buy bonds convertible into the cash equivalent of a foreign stock.
His trick to financing such mega-deals? Nanula dives deep--and early--into feasibilities studies. From that point, he says, his job is "to ensure that the financial boxes around these projects are tightly drawn." And when needed, Nanula is the one to "go out and lead or design the transaction."
Like Disney's main attractions, Nanula isn't apt to stay idle for long. Among other projects, the company is eyeing a second French park, perhaps with a studio-tour theme. An EPCOT Center for Anaheim, Calif. is also on the boards.
The financing of those deals, no doubt, will help to ensure Nanula's long, heady rise at Disney.
DIME SAVINGS BANK
Not many bankers would compare their efforts to a World War II Naval battle, But Richard D. Parsons, 44, chairman and CEO of The Dime Savings Bank of New York since 1991, is not your typical thrift chairman.
Parsons is resuscitating a $9.4 billion savings and loan some analysts thought near death. The Dime's third quarter 1992 earnings report--the most recent available--showed $25.4 million in earnings for the first nine months of 1992.That's a $65 million comeback from losses of $40 million in 1991. The victory, says Parsons, was akin to the Battle of Midway. "The tide has turned. A lot of skirmishes are ahead of us, but I think we are winning," he declares.
Equally significant, Parsons is the first African-American to head such a large financial institution. And he sits on the boards of Time Warner Inc. and Philip Morris Cos. Inc. A University of Hawaii graduate, Parsons has spent most of his career in the public sector. Between 1971 and 1977, after receiving a J.D. from Union University's Albany Law School, he worked for Vice President Nelson Rockefeller before becoming a domestic policy adviser in the Ford administration. Prior to donning his bankers' stripes, he was a partner in the New York law firm of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler.
Such dexterity has helped Parsons recast The Dime. During the mid-1980s the thrift got fat on New En land residential home loans. When the Northeast economy went bust, however, mortgage holders stopped paying. The Dime then had to set aside $307 million for bad loans, which contributed to a net loss of $237 million in 1991. Now, with most of those loans off the books, Parsons expects to see modest profits.
Earnings are likely to flow from several sources, including fee-based services. Last year, Parsons created Dime Securities to sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities. "In this market, people want to make more on their money. And we want to capture this money before it leaves the bank," he says
Over the past five years, Parsons trimmed The Dime's staff from 3,600 to 2,350. This year, he'll boost short-term income by selling off eight upstate branches. Thrift analysts praise Parsons. Still, 75% of The Dime's bad loans are on single-family house mortgages. For Parson's Dime, then, an economic upswing will be the true foundation for victory.
David B. Price Jr.
Ever wonder what makes toothpaste ooze, hotdogs plump or flame retardants... do their thing? It may sound like fodder for an Arsenio Hall monologue, but such stuff is serious business for Monsanto's David B. Price Jr.
Vice president and general manager of the $750 million Performance Products division (PP), Price is one of four directors of Monsanto Co.'s Chemical Group. The largest operating unit at St. Louis-based Monsanto, the group provides about half of the chemical giant's $9 billion in sales.
Price's products "add value" to such things as Oscar Mayer's franks (which owe their plumpness to PP's phosphates) and house paints (which contain PP flame retardants). And, his 18,000-employee division is the world's largest supplier of ingredients to such detergent makers as Procter & Gamble.
Consequently, Price has a natural advantage, unlike others within the Chemical Group, because PP is a noncyclical business. "Less than 5% of our sales and services go to the auto and construction sectors," notes Price. His primary markets--including food, personal hygiene and aviation--tend to be more stable.
Even so, recent earnings at PP have hardly been explosive. Combined revenues for the Chemical Group fell sharply in '92 with third-quarter sales at $43 million, 44% down from the same period in '91. To gain headway in the battered chemical field, Price is hunting for relief overseas. Already, 30% of the division's business stems from international customers. For example, joint ventures in Japan and Thailand helped lift sales in the Asia-Pacific market by 10% in 1991. By seeking additional global alliances, Price expects to yield more business.
Price, 47, has burned quite a path at Monsanto, where he started out in 1972. Positions in investment relations, strategic analysis and the treasurer's office have given him fluency in Monsanto's complex business. Trained as a structural engineer, Price got the fire in his belly on his first job--designing chemical plants for the company. "No matter how good my design was," he recalls, "the guys in pinstriped suits were the ones calling the shots."
Price took the hint and left the drafting table for Harvard Business School in 1974. Two years later, with parchment in hand--and a pinstriped suit--he came back to Monsanto, and stayed.
Gerald D. Prothro
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) is waging a battle to regain its dominance of the computer industry. Gerald D. Prothro, IBM's vice president of Information and Telecommunications Systems (I&TCS), is in a position to help Big Blue win back its crown.
Prothro, 50, runs the Purchase, N.Y.-based team responsible for setting the strategic direction for internal computing at IBM. I&TCS serves as an interconnected, worldwide lab. Its function: to test and approve all information technology applications used to help the $14.7 billion company bring products to market. With a out $20 million and a staff of 30, Prothro has far-flung responsibility; his reach extends to computing operations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
"We're pursuing a three-part strategy," he explains. "We plan to exploit the falling cost of computers, to bring products to market faster and to help IBM move into a family of companies that can help us find the lowest cost of computing."
Those objectives couldn't be met too soon. In October, IBM reported a third-quarter loss of $2.88 billion, sending the price of shares from $78 to $72.9, the lowest in 10 years. Meanwhile, Big Blue's huge mainframe computers--many of which Prothro helped to develop--are losing market share to personal computers. Worse still, IBM lost its No. 1 position in the personal computer industry--a title it had owned for more than a decade--to Apple Computer.
The quick and efficient application of cutting-edge technology is what IBM needs to make its comeback. Prothro notes that the designing of a new computer can be slowed down considerably if internal communications can't say where the correct parts are and when they'll be ready for assembly. "It's a highly collaborative system," he asserts.
Prothro holds a master's degree in atomic physics from Howard University and has completed a three-month management program at the Harvard Business School. The 23-year IBM veteran an was included among BE's "25 Hottest Black Managers" in 1988, when he was vice president of the company's Data Systems division and was later named to IBM'S Corporate Management Board. By 1991, he had become the director of I&TCS; he was named to his current post last June.
With notches like these in his belt, Prothro is ideally suited to helping IBM regain its edge.
Franklin D. Raines
Rhodes Scholars may be ultra-popular in Washington, D.C., these days. But there is at least one Oxford man who isn't quite ready to trade private for public sector shoes--just yet. That's Franklin D. Raines. Since July of 1991, he has served as vice chairman of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), the publicly traded and government-sponsored corporation that purchases mortgages from lenders and resells them to investors.
"For someone who has an interest in finance and in government, this is a great place," says Raines, 49. "It is the largest public/private partnership in the world, and we do public sector work with private sector skills."
No doubt, that dexterity is what grabbed Bill Clinton's attention last November. When the President assembled his transition team, he handpicked Raines to head his Economic Advisory Council.
Convening such a panel was no stretch for the Harvard Law School graduate. A former general partner at the New York City-based investment banking firm Lazard Freres & Co., Raines also served the Carter administration in the Office of Management and Budget. Today, as one of three executives in the office of the chairman, he oversees Fannie Mae's legal, credit, finance and corporate development policies.
Fannie Mae is the nation's largest home mortgage investor and the biggest private securities issuer. In 1992, it held 2.5 million mortgages worth a whopping $250 billion--an 80% increase over the previous year. And during the first nine months of 1992, Fannie Mae earned $1.2 billion or 20% more than the same period in 1991.
Last year, Raines' efforts touched both Wall Street and Main Street. First, he spent months revamping Fannie Mae's image on the Street, after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused Salomon Brothers Inc. of manipulating its mortgage-backed securities business. He was also instrumental in creating "Access," a program designed to increase minority participation in Fannie Mae's $380 billion-plus securities business. Under "Access," black-owned investment firms have a better shot at joining Fannie Mae's elite debenture-selling group. Another of his projects, "Fannie Neighbors," helps low-income homebuyers qualify for mortgages.
Not bad for a private sector Rhodes scholar.
A. Barry Rand
All eyes are on A. Barry Rand. The question: Does this 48-year-old Xerox Corp. executive vice president really have a chance to be the first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company? Last February, when Xerox Chairman and CEO Paul Allaire restructured the senior management team, Rand was tapped with three other top executives to serve in the company's newly formed Corporate Office. Established to divide the responsibilities that usually fall under the president and chief operating officer (Xerox has neither), the group is widely believed also to contain Allaire's successor to run this $18 billion document systems company.
It is no surprise that Rand is a member of this power quintet. The veteran marketing and operations manager has been groomed for the group since joining Xerox in 1968 as a ares operational responsibilities for xerox's nine worldwide business units and three worldwide geographic customer operations units.
Under this structure, the Stanford University MBA also directs three main divisions: personal document products (which makes and markets products for home and small business users); engineering systems (which designs, manufactures and markets products for engineering document processing); and business services (which develops and markets facilities and management services). Rand also handles the Americas customer operations, which includes North, South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, China and Hong Kong. Rand, who prior to his recent promotion was president of Xerox's $6 billion U.S. marketing group head and corporate vice president of 35,000 employees, says this post is part of Xerox's intention "to give me international experience."
Analysts are still waiting to see if the company's new structure can actually boost revenue and earnings per share (EPS). Despite net income growth of 11% during the third quarter, EPS was 25% below analysts' expectations.
Rand, who BE selected as one of the "25 Hottest Black Managers" in 1988, remains confident. He foresees increased revenues and profits as the world economy reheats. The key, says Rand, who directed efforts that earned Xerox the 1989 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, is delivering customer satisfaction and superior products.
Roy S. Roberts
Bungee-jumping trucks? That's the image GMC Truck used in a recent ad campaign, all the better to prove the strength of its new, light utility truck.
But the Jimmy SLT isn't all that is bouncing back at General Motors Truck division. Four months ago, when Roy S. Roberts was named vice president and general manager of GMC Truck, he became the only GM manager to leave the company, come back and attain such a high rank. His new position also makes him the first African-American to head a Big Three auto division.
Driving an employee force of 650 plus 2,700 dealerships, Roberts professes a "love" for trucks. "I wanted to make a difference in the business," says Roberts, "and I wanted to do it with GM because of its size and scope."
Roberts, 53, owes his rise at GM to a bang-up combination of skills. Until January of 1990, he had served as manufacturing manager at both the Flint Automotive and Cadillac divisions, producers of Gm's luxury models. Prior to that he put in manager stints at three other company plants in Michigan and New York. Before defecting in 1988 to Navistar International Corp., a top maker of heavy trucks, he was GM's vice president, personnel administration and development.
The potential payoff for shifting gears was hardly lost on Roberts, who holds a bachelors degree from Western Michigan University. "The person who knows two jobs is more valuable than the person who knows one," he declares.
It was his two-year tenure at Navistar that likely prompted GM to lure him back. Roberts ran all aspects of the company's $3 billion truck-manufacturing operation. "That job gave me a broad and deep perspective of the business," he says.
The Pontiac, Mich.-based Roberts came to his new post just as GM saw wrench in changes at the top. With the ouster of CEO Robert Stempel last November came a sense of upheaval. The shakeupwas magnified by impending job cuts and plant closings at GM. "Clearly there is a sense of urgency," he says, "not because of what the board decides, but because of the competition and the consumer's demands."
Today, GMC Truck seems almost crash-resistant. As of November, sales at the division were up 19% from a year earlier, against a 10% industry-wide gain. Meanwhile, Roberts is cruising for more customers in an unlikely place. "We see opportunity in the affluent market," he says. Look for him at the country club.
Joyce M. Roche
Once in awhile, even a cosmetics company needs a makeover. Luckily at Avon Products Inc., they've got Joyce Roche. Known as a record-breaker and product-maker, the 45-year-old vice president/senior officer of marketing, U.S., is helping Avon update and innovate.
"The image we're trying to portray is contemporary," says Roche, who landed the company's top marketing job last April. For women in the '90s, she wagers, "Avon will be more relevant than it has been in the past."
As we pointed out in our August 1991 cover story, "21 Women of Power and Influence," Roche's hunches are often dead-on. In 1991, she launched Billy Dee Williams" "Undeniable," the first major-market fragrance to be promoted by a black celebrity. Within two weeks, revenues hit $10 million--a record for any Avon scent. Roche, who earned her MBA at Columbia University, also helped reinvent Avon's laggard jewelry line in 1990. After swapping clunky baubles for more contemporary styles, sales for the category jumped up 30% in three months.
Once again, the giant direct marketer is counting on her Midas touch. Due largely to a sluggish economy, sales for Avon Products U.S. were off by 2% in 1991 and remained flat through 1992. But armed with a$65 million budget a staff of 155 and experience in "every marketing job in the company," Roche, who is based in New York, intends to turn those numbers around.
For starters, she's pushing for high-tech "department-store quality" products that can add luster to the Avon name. Secondly, she's working hard not just to attract new customers, but also to grab old ones back.
How will she find them now that door-to-door selling is all but obsolete? "The place where sales happen continues to shift," says Roche. To serve Avon's busier, career-minded customers, a new marketing plan, "Avon Select," allows women to order products 24-hours-a-day by phone, fax or mail. Roche has also doubled her '93 advertising budget and plans to blanket the media with slick, youthful ads.
"We're adapting the system of direct selling," says Roche, who has no plans to disenfranchise the "Avon Lady." Representatives, she assures, will always be a part of the Avon formula. "We're simply putting flexibility back into the customer's hands."
Johnathan A. Roberts
Under the klieg lights of network TV, Johnathan Rodgers barely blinks. As president of CBS Television Stations, a $500 million division of the CBS Broadcast Group, Rodgers is the highes-tranking black in his field. And what does he say when reminded of this distinction? "I don't seek praise," declares Rodgers, whose seven network-owned stations span from Green Bay, Wis. to Philadelphia and reach 20 million viewers. "Here, we all work together."
Power--and a $250 million budget--lurks behind the modesty. Since he took over as president in 1990, local news ratings, long a sore spot at the stations, have increased at six of the seven stations. And 1992 was the most lucrative year in the division's history, with analysts citing profits of $185 million, up 30% from 1991. At the network level, '92 profits squeaked in at $32 million.
How does the 12-year CBS Veteran do it? "I started out by giving my general managers a greater sense of independence," says the Chicago-based Rodgers. "They don't work for a New York-based corporation. They work for their communities."
A former journalist himself, Rodgers, 46, is passionate in his belief that local stations should reflect the viewers they serve. "None of our stations look alike," he insists. That fact has served his bottom line well. With 40% minority audience, his "inclusive" programming keeps both viewers and advertisers watching. In fact, this strategy worked so well in his previous post as general manager of Chicago's WBBM, that he boosted profits at the station by 18% during his four-year tenure.
Rodgers who holds a master's in communications from Stanford University was hired for the programming instincts he honed in Chicago. But he also brought a more business-oriented philosophy to the stations."I made the general managers very aware of their bottom line responsibility, as opposed to just winning awards or having a marvelous community affairs program."
As Rodgers winds up his third season as president, he still faces some uphill battles. Chief among them is The Oprah Winfrey Show. Only two of his stations carry it, while the others vie for finicky viewers in the mid-day time slot. Though his stations have fared well within the CBS universe, they continue to underperform their rivals at NBC and ABC. "My goal," he says, "is to close that gap by 1994."
hen Frank Savage, chairman and head of global marketing for Equitable Capital Management Corp. (ECMC), talks money, be prepared to think globally and get ready to register sums in the 10-figure range. Under Savage's direction, ECMC, the money management arm of the New York-based Equitable Cos. Inc., oversees a $36 billion portfolio. in addition to managing the funds of The Equitable, ECMC clients include independent pension and mutual funds investors, insurance companies, foundations, endowments and high-net income investors.
ECMC invests funds in three areas. They are: equities management ($10.4 billion); fixed-income management ($13 billion); and corporate finance ($10.9 billion). Another $1.7 billion is stashed in high-yield bonds.
After a frenzied decade of leveraged buyout (LBO) financing, Savage is now looking globally for the best return on his clients' dollars. Right now he believes that foreign equities are particularly attractive and are apt to comprise a bigger share of the ECMC pie. "The world is moving toward a global market and we want to be part of it," notes Savage. "We have also adopted a risk reduction and hedging strategy to insulate our products."
This may mean investing private pension fund dollars in fast-growing Pacific Rim companies or pouring a wealthy sheik's money into a high-potential U.S. fixed-income vehicle. The goal is the same: to make ECMC a one-stop shop for discerning, cash-rich investors.
At 54, Savage, who holds a corporate title of senior vice president is very much a company man with a global outlook. For 20 of the past 23 years, he has sharpened his international business skills while working up The Equitable financial ranks. Prior to joining The Equitable, the world's fourth-largest insurer, he spent seven years with Citicorp's international division serving in New York, Africa and the Middle East. When he was recognized in 1988 as one of Be's "25 Hottest Black Managers," he was ECMC's vice chairman.
Savage holds a master's from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and speaks Arabic, Swahili, French and Japanese. "Our clients are very high level and very sophisticated," says Savage, who himself has lived abroad. "I bring a level of professionalism to them, as well as a macro and micro approach."
Wayman F. Smith III
Wayman F. Smith 111, vice president of corporate affairs for the Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. in St. Louis, Mo., knows the value of leveraging power and influence to boost his company's bottom line. Because of his keen marketing instincts, Smith has elevated his office to extraordinary degrees of effectiveness.
A director of the $10.7 billion company's largest subsidiary, Anheuser-Busch (A-B) Inc. (the $8.3 billion brewery operation that markets leading beer brands including Budweiser and Michelob), Smith has direct access to company chairman, president and CEO Augusta A. Busch III. As a board member, Smith, 52, has input on everything from corporate expenditures to hiring. Since joining A-B 12 years ago, Smith has helped the company to go beyond typical promotion and advertising, tying A-B to high-profile, nationally televised events. As a result, A-B has established broad brand and product awareness.
A-B is the largest brewer in the world, with a U.S. market share of 44% in 1991. A huge marketing effort is the driving force behind the company's dominance. A-B annually spends hundreds of millions of dollars on promotions and sponsorships. The result: The average American sees the Budweiser logo 10 times daily, and in 1991, A-B sold 42 million barrels more than the No. 2 company, Miller Brewing. Of the four beer brands most preffered by black consumers, three are A-B products.
Smith holds a law degree from Howard University School of Law and earned an undergraduate degree in business administration from Monmouth College in West Long Branch, N.J. A former judge in the St. Louis Municipal Court, Smith left a law partnership at the St. Louis firm of Wilson, Smith and McCullin to join A-B in 1980.
Smith has cemented A-B's role as the primary sponsor of the nationally televised Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon, which last year raised more than $10 million for the United Negro College Fund. Fittingly, Smith is also chairman of the board of trustees at Howard University. With the company's first-time prime sponsorship of the upcoming NAACP Image Awards, also to be nationally televised, Smith expects to further enhance A-B's prestige and brand awareness. "We plan to continue the development of new markets through cause-related strategies," he says.
Paula A. Sneed
KRAFT GENERAL FOODS
Harvard Business School case studies are renowned for informing, and frustrating, students. But how often does an exercise actually change a career path? When Paula A. Sneed enrolled at the school in 1975, she had no plans to work for a multinational corporation. Rather, she had gone to Harvard to bone up on her social service administration skills. Then serendipity smiled.
"I remember we had a case study on a Dave Alpert, a fictititious General Foods manager who wanted to develop a new pet food product," Sneed recalls. "I listened and thought, 'Hey, I want that job.'"
Well, she got it Soon after graduation in 1977, Sneed joined what is now the $8 billion, White Plains, N.Y.-based General Foods USA (GFUSA). It is one of three operating companies under Kraft General Foods North America (KGFNA), which in turn is wholly owned by Philip Morris Cos. Inc.
Sneed, who was promoted since we last profiled her in our August 1991 story, "21 Women of Power and Influence," is executive vice president and general manager of the General Foods Desserts division. Her well-known brands include Jell-O and Dream Whip. But as cheaper, private label products fly off grocery shelves these days, competitors are chewing up Kraft General Foods's market share.
Overpricing helps explain why KGFNA'S sales barely grew in 1991, note analysts. Sneed, however, does not think her products are too pricey, and won't cave in to markdowns. Instead, she's fighting back with customer perks, such as toll-free consumer hot lines and promotional Jell-O mold giveaways. For those extras--not to mention Bill Cosby's commercial pitches--"people are willing to pay the [higher] price," she claims.
The jury is out on whether such tactics will work. But Sneed, 45, has been right in the past. In 1986, after nine years in marketing, Sneed became head of GFUSA's Consumer Center and pushed operating costs below competitors. Then in 1990, she was promoted to president of the commercial and institutional food service division. Now in her present spot, Sneed brings her tough marketing savvy to a sweet division. Fifteen years ago, the Massachusetts native never imagined herself running part of a multibillion-dollar corporation. The reality, says Sneed is that she relishes breaking barriers. "Staying with this corporation for me is an affirmation."
Dorothy A. Terrell
In today's brutal computer wars, ineffective managers get gobbled up like Pac Men. Good thing Dorothy A. Terrell knows her turf--and then some. As president of SunExpress Inc., the direct marketing arm of Sun Microsystems Inc., Terrell is growing a global business faster than you can say "megabyte."
Barely 18 months have passed since Terrell logged on with Sun, the $3.6 billion leading maker of workstations. Her mission: to take fledgling SunExpress, double its catalog offerings and expand internationally--all within a single year.
"I love starting up," confesses the 47 - year - old Terrell, who earned a degree in journalism--not business--at Florida A&M University. She learned her trade instead during a 15-year tenure at Digital Equipment Corp. There, she climbed nimbly from human resources to plant operations. By 1989, she was at the helm of a 1,200-employee manufacturing plant and a $300 million budget, a distinction that landed her a spot in BE's "21 Women of Power and Influence." When Sun came calling that same month, Terrell was ready.
She put SunExpress on a steady course: It would concentrate on high-volume direct selling, through catalogs and telesales, and "outsource" its other functions, such as distribution, warehousing and packaging. By focusing on her "core competency," Terrell planted a solid identity for SunExpress in the United States, while gearing up for quick growth overseas.
Last May, after just nine months on the job, the Boston-based Terrell took SunExpress to France, Germany and the U.K. Rather than launching operations in each country, she cleverly set up a toll-free number in Holland, where multilingual operators take orders from all three regions. "We answer in the language of the caller, we bill in the currency of the caller and we collect locally," says Terrell. "It may be a bit unusual for this type of operation, but it's proved very cost-effective."
Such money-saving moves helped Terrell exceed her $150 million sales goal by nearly 10% in 1992. In addition, she's quadrupled the SunExpress product line, which now includes everything from computer cables to $150,000 software packages. Most recently, Terrell stunned the Sun brass by starting up in Japan, a market that will be particularly tough to crack, she says, since catalog shopping is an anathema to the Japanese. "We're building a foundation customer by customer," she says.
Lloyd G. Trotter
Thomas Edison may have invented the light bulb. But these days, Lloyd G. Trotter is the one manning the switch. As president of one of 13 key businesses at General Electric (GE)--the company Edison founded back in 1878--Trotter has enjoyed one heck of a power surge.
Last November, Trotter was named president and CEO of GE's Electrical Distribution and Control (ED&C). Large enough to be ranked among the Fortune 500 on its own, ED&C is a $1.7 billion global business that designs and manufactures devices to control, distribute, transform and protect electricity. His may not be the sexiest product line, but like all good GE men, Trotter has a way of bringing things "to light."
A solid technical and manufacturing background has helped Trotter to shine at Fairfield, Conn.-based GE, his sole employer since graduating from Cleveland State University in 1972. Before snaring the top job at ED&C, he was vice president and general manager of manufacturing, where he integrated 40 facilities to boost productivity by 150% in 18 months.
His immediate agenda for ED&C? "Our products are in great shape," he says, referring to the company's array of state-of-the-art gadgets serving industrial, commercial and home users. "But we still struggle with productivity." An executive with a participatory style, Trotter encourages ED&C's managers, hourly employees and customers to rub elbows and attack problems. Improved performance--such as the delivery of "just-in-time" inventory--Trotter hopes, can help ED&C achieve a 1% overall market share gain in each of the segments it serves.
"We want to do made-to-order in everything we build," he explains. That means "giving customers what they want, when they want it and in the mix or varieties they need," he says. The intensity especially applies to ED&C's 10 European operations, which generally occupy the No. 2 or No. 3 spot in each marketplace. "We want to be the top supplier in each of these regions," Trotter notes.
A man of tough self-imposed goals, Trotter hopes to harness the energy of emerging markets in Southeast Asia and Mexico. "As they improve their standards of living, they'll have to improve their infrastructures," he says. And you can bet Trotter will be there at the flick of a switch.
With any luck, Lloyd Ward will help his company crunch its way into the Guiness Book of World Records. And to what feat does the Frito-Lay Inc. executive owe his shot at posterity?
A massive nationwide taste-test of the new "cheesier" Nacho Cheese Flavor Doritos corn chips, for which the company unleashed 13,000 Frito-Lay employees to personally invite consumers to size up the goods. The May 1992 event was billed as the largest product sampling ever.
As the president of Frito-Lay's $1 billion-plus Central division, Ward is no stranger to doing things big. Wholly-owned by PepsiCo Inc., Frito-Lay is the world's leading snack chip maker, with 26,000 employees and sales approaching $6 billion. With TV-time favorites such as Doritos, Lay's Potato Chips and other munchies, the company kicks in more than a quarter of all sales for $20 billion PepsiCo--an empire that includes soft drinks and the Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell restaurant chains. That's a plateful on anybody's menu.
Based in Dallas, Ward manages the network of "makers, movers and sellers" who bring Frito-Lay products to snackers in 13 Midwestern and South Central states. In addition to getting the products in stores, Ward, 43, must also flex the marketing muscle needed to move the bags off the shelves. That means knowing what customers want, and recognizing that they all may not want the same products.
For example, while Flaming Hot Doritos may be popular in inner-city Oakland or Los Angeles, Ward explains, they may not catch fire in rural Montana. "When we stage in-store activities, this benefits not just us, but our retailers and our customers," he says. "This win-win proposition is what it takes to make our business profitable in the long-term."
Prior to joining the company in 1991, Ward was vice president of operations for Pepsi-Cola East, an operating division of the Pepsi-Cola Co. A graduate of Michigan State University with an MBA from Xavier University, Ward cut his teeth at Proctor & Gamble, where he spent the first 17 years of his career. Before his promotion to the 8,500-employee Central division last November, Ward served as president of 10-state Frito-Lay West.
Ward is clearly excited about his chance to lead another winning team. "I'm pumped," he admits. "I'm ready to do it."
It's a long way to Africa and back, but for Carl Ware, the journey is sweet. The president of The Coca-Cola Co.'s newly created Africa Group, Ware is one of five top officers shaking up global operations at the Atlanta-based beverage giant. Launched last month, Ware's division is the first Coca-Cola group to be formed since 1968, and covers 46 sub-Saharan nations.
"This was the right time to position our business for the future," says Ware, 49, who knows Africa's potential firsthand. Until November, he was a deputy group vice president for Coca-Cola's combined Northeast Europe/Africa Group. But with new African markets popping up faster than bottle tops, the need to create a separate group became crystal clear.
"Africa is getting ready for the denationalization of industry," explains Ware, citing the ripe opportunities of free markets and private business ownership. Coca-Cola first raised its logo in Africa 45 years ago. Still, says Ware, "we haven't begun to scrape the surface."
Indeed, sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than 500 million people, with 27 million new thirsts to quench in Mozambique and Angola alone. Civil disturbances in those nations kept Coca-Cola at bay for more than a dozen years, but the end of unrest signals the company's return. Lethargic government partners aside, Ware is confident that Africa can deliver more than its present 2% of total volume.
Today, in its strongest regions, Coca-Cola has the African market by the throat. Share in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Kenya is at 70%, 80% and 90%, respectively. Even so, the average citizen swigs just 13 servings a year, compared with 296 in the United States. As peace and private ownership trickle down to other regions, Coca-Cola should manage to double its growth rate to 11% a year, Ware says.
So how does he plan to take back the continent? First, Ware, who has a master's from the University of Pittsburgh, has vowed to tap more indigenous Africans for every facet of the business, from technical managers to blue-collar workers. And as governments sell off assets, hopefully to local buyers, Ware will revamp the company's aging bottling plants.
"It's important that we be ahead of the business curve rather than follow," sums up the 19-year Coca-Cola veteran. Clearly he knows a thing or two about bottling success.
Earl S. Washington
Take the artillery of Rambo,the gizmos of James Bond and the space-age fantasies of Star Trek, and you'll get a pretty good idea of what makes Earl S. Washington tick.
Better yet, think back to Operation Desert Storm. During the pre-dawn raids on Baghdad, millions watched as U.S. "Hellfire" missiles took out target after Iraqi target. Those $35,000 laser-guided weapons stunned CNN viewers with their precision. They were also a compelling sales tool for Washington, who heads up the $2 billion Rockwell International Corp. division that produced them.
"When Desert Storm hit, we became an immediate success," says Washington, vice president of the $11 billion aerospace and aviation giant's Defense Electronics (DE) business. "CNN became one of our best sales leads."
With Cold War tensions all but melted away, Washington, 48, has another mission: to tap new markets for Rockwell's defense products and help smooth the company's domestic "conversion"--that is, the replacement of military contracts with commercial ones here at home.
"My job," explains the UCLA graduate, "is to analyze where the market is
going, and to help develop products to meet those needs. It's sort of a womb to tomb responsibility."
Faced last year with billions in cancelled U.S. military orders, Defense Electronics trimmed its ranks b 3,000 workers and expects more layoffs this year. "The combination of a down economy and shrinking defense market are not the most positive factors," says Washington. "But there are opportunities."
Specifically, he plans to compensate for sputtering U.S. defense sales by zeroing in on military contracts overseas--where sales rocketed from 5% of DE revenues in 1988 to 25% in 1991. Markets in both the Far and Middle East look especially promising, Washington notes, as the U.S. reduces military support to those nations.
Meanwhile, at Rockwell's Anaheim, Calif. headquarters, Washington's troops are developing a range of new transportation systems--such as high-speed railways and satellite receivers for use in trucks and buses. And before the decade is out, DE hopes to roll out the Intelligent Vehicle Highway System (IVHS), which will monitor traffic patterns and pre-empt collisions. "It will make the road and your car as smart as you are," he says.
Clifton R. Wharton Jr.
Four years ago, BLACK ENTERPRISE named Clifton R. Wharton Jr. the "$70 billion man." Today, the chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF, the world's biggest pension fund and third largest insurance company, presides over $112 billion in assets.
The real name behind the acronym TIAA-CREF is a mouthful. But for its 1.6 million participants, the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association--College Retirement Equities Fund is a household name. TIAA-CREF provides comprehensive retirement, insurance and investment programs for 5,000 colleges, universities, independent schools and nonprofit organizations. During 1991, TIAA-CREF paid or credited more than $5.9 billion in benefits and dividends to participants and their beneficiaries.
To understand the investment clout of TIAA-CREF, one has only to look at the numbers. TIAA-CREF has a major stake in virtually every Fortune 500 corporation, and considering the size of it's portfolio, these are very large holdings. Recently, TIAA-CREF invested $650 million in Minnesota's Mall of America--the largest mall in the United States. Wharton, the first African-American to head a Fortune 1000 company and a master of understatement, says "the influence of the company is considerable."
Under Wharton's six-year stewardship, the New York Citybased TIAA-CREF has been completely reorganized. "All of our investments are made in-house--that keeps our costs down," says Wharton, 66. "We also have given our participants more choices of funds, more options and greater control over their retirement funds." Wharton has also made it a priority to increase the number of women and minorities in key departments.
Before joining TIAA-CREF six years ago, Wharton was the chancellor of the 64-campus State University of New York System for nine years. He also served as the resident of Michigan State University for eight years, after a career in foreign economic development. A graduate of Harvard University, Wharton holds an M.A. in international studies from Johns Hopkins, and an M.A. and Ph.D in economics from the University of Chicago.
Ask the CEO about his day-to-day challenge--guarding TIAA-CREF's reputation as one of the nation's most admired companies--and he just smiles. Compared to dealing with student riots at Michigan State in the early '70s, managing a 3,700-employee corporation is a cinch.